Field Notebook: An Ode to the Creative Beast Inside

Many people say, "I'm not creative, I could never do that".  From my own experience, what I think this really means is, "I'm afraid I can't" or "I'm too busy to do it" or "I'm really not willing to put in the effort to learn".  Granted, the latter too are quite valid sometimes, especially if you have kids or work a full-time job.  However, and I say from experience, the first excuse can easily be overcome.  I promise.  You just have to find something that inspires you, do your research, and give it a try.  Its amazing how many wonderful projects are out there and there is such a variety there are bound to be ones that suit your style.  Are you a Martha Stewart? Momtastic? Metal/Steam Punk? Earthy...granola? Fashionable chic? CountryFeminine Handmade? Explore the world, its vast. Or find something local, go MN!

 image credit: oh, hello friend

Remember, every product you see in stores started with one person, one idea, and two pairs of hands. Nothing more.  You may not have their fancy machinery or bountiful monetary resources, but you still have the essential human component: the will to create. Its what the handmade and eco-friendly movement is all about: getting back to the basics. Where does this come from? What about that? Can I grow my own flowers, eat my own tomatoes? (Well, I hate tomatoes, so maybe I'll start my own orchard).  There is a reason why making something yourself versus buying it from the store feels different. When you make instead of consume, you are unleashing the creative piece of your humanity - its an essential component of your soul that connects you to your Creator, to God. Just look outside, look what He created.  Its this little secret of life that we miss when we only consume.  Don't roll you eyes, its a very subtle, but very powerful drive. Keep trying.

image credit: DIY w/ Brittni

Honestly, it doesn't matter if you don't get it right - hey! I can't draw worth a nickel - that's when you keep trying, keep looking, 'til you find something you really love and reach something truly beautiful.  You may have to try a bunch of different things. For example:

When I was in the elementary school I was OBSESSED with being an artist.  I wanted paint, I wanted to go to France, I wanted to meet Leonardo DaVinci and visit all the great houses of Europe.  So, I bought a ton of "how-to-draw" books and paints.  Turns out, I really couldn't draw like that.  I couldn't make myself produce a perfect portrait or shapely figure.  And unfortuantely I came to the conclusion that I wasn't creative.  If I couldn't draw then I was officially a failed artist.  It was my secret shame: seriously! I was so afraid of being rejected by the artsy people I was too afraid to keep trying.  And I don't think my art teacher helped much - picking favorite students is not recommended - ever.

image credit: DIY w/Brittni

Yes, its true that a stick figure isn't as "beautiful" as a nude.  I get that - not all art is the same.  But honestly, sometimes people just take awhile to find their medium.  Next I tried pottery, it was little bit better, but like painting and drawing - I wasn't inspired - I was just aimlessly poking around in with the clay.  I tell you - no inspiration = no inspiration.  So, I learned that my brain and hands were not good at creating with great detail. I needed to find something else.

 But throughout the rest of my school years the creative bug stalked me - I went to gallery openings, longingly admired classmates print work, and discovered a such a inspirational plethora of artsy and handmade crafts I didn't know what to do with myself!! Plus, we live in the age of internet so finding new ideas are just a click and snap away.  In fact, that's how I uncovered my love of sewing - I happened upon a website with handmade flowers - and I knew I wanted to make one for myself.  Then another with instructions on clutch-making.  Then Martha Stewart came out with her Encyclopedia of Sewing and Encyclopedia of Crafts and I was a goner! Enter: Etsy.  It was the perfect storm and it all happened in a matter of months.  Years of waiting to put my creative longings to work - synchronized to bring you The Traveling Cabinet.  Thank you Jesus. Its not easy, it takes hard work - but when you you're doing something you love, it doesn't feel that way - its like all the pieces that make you "you" come together.  And honestly, that's what creating is about.
image credit: oh, hello friend
So let me encourage you - find something you love, learn how to do it, collect your supplies, then try.  Even if its a card or a necklace, a handcarved ornament or detailed map of your backyard.  Its worth it.